Eversource's rate case before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities is moving forward. In a first track involving issues other than rate design, discovery closed as of August 4, 2017 and intervenors' reply briefs are due August 18, 2017. Eversource is seeking approval of the merger of NSTAR Electric Company and WMECo, now referred to as Eversource East and Eversource West, as well as rate increases and a rate redesign that would impact both companies’ ratepayers. /continue reading
Last week's NECEC legislative round-up program -- attended by KLG's Courtney Feeley Karp and Jonathan Klavens -- confirmed that, despite a rocky legislative session in Maine and a disappointing failure to override Governor LePage’s vetoes, clean energy continues to make progress in legislatures throughout the Northeast. /continue reading
Drawing on its significant experience with solar project development, KLG recently submitted comments on the Massachusetts SMART program to point out some of the potential practical difficulties with the project segmentation rule proposed in the regulation issued by the Department of Energy Resources in June 2017. KLG believes the rule would create unnecessary barriers to solar project development on contiguous parcels of land. /continue reading
All of the Massachusetts electric distribution companies recently claimed that they are in compliance with their interconnection timeline requirements. A notice issued last week gives stakeholders until July 24, 2017 to submit comments on those claims. /continue reading
In the early stages of a renewable energy project, project developers must take steps to secure rights to the land on which the project will be located. This frequently means obtaining a long-term lease of the property, and sometimes means purchasing the property outright. Whether the project developer leases or purchases the project site, the developer is well-advised to obtain a preliminary title search before executing a letter of intent or offer to purchase the property and to commission a title exam of the property and obtain title insurance before closing on the lease or purchase. Even when no lender is involved in the early stages of project development, taking the appropriate steps to research title and mitigate title risks through the purchase of title insurance can be critical in laying the groundwork for future project development and financing. /continue reading
On September 30, 2016 at 12 pm, the Boston Bar Association's Environmental Section will host a brown bag discussion on the topic "The Commonwealth's Pipelines Issue, ENGIE & CLF v. DPU and Where We Go From Here." Speakers are Melissa G. Liazos of National Grid USA, David Ismay of Conservation Law Foundation, Joe Dalton of ENGIE North America, and Seth Schofield of the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General.
Facilitated by KLG's Courtney Feeley Karp, co-chair of the Energy Committee of the Environmental Section, speakers will discuss the legal issues raised in the case - ENGIE Gas & LNG LLC v. Department of Public Utilities, 475 Mass. 191 (2016) - as well as strategies to address the Commonwealth's energy needs and climate change goals.
Find event details here.
On May 11, 2016, 30 days after Governor Baker signed new solar net metering legislation into law (the “Act”), the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities opened Docket 16-64 and issued an order adopting Emergency Regulations (“Emergency Regulations”) that amend the existing Net Metering Regulations (220 C.M.R. 18.00) to reflect the provisions of the Act. The Emergency Regulations do not provide all of the answers for which stakeholders had hoped. In fact, DPU itself has posed a series of questions for stakeholders that suggest the Department is actively considering whether and how the final regulations should differ from the Emergency Regulations in order to appropriately implement the Act. Interested parties should consider participating in the public comment period leading up to issuance of a final regulation. Public comments are due June 15, 2016 and DPU will also hold a public hearing the same day. /continue reading
On April 8, 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued an emergency regulation expanding the state’s SREC II solar incentive program to all otherwise eligible solar projects that can be complete by January 8, 2017. The regulation represents DOER’s response to the oversubscription of the SREC II program in early February 2016 and provides a bridge to help the market transition to a successor solar incentive program that DOER is in the process of developing.
Under the emergency regulation, notwithstanding the prior cumulative SREC I/SREC II program cap of 1600 MW DC, all new Massachusetts solar facilities that otherwise meet SREC II qualification requirements will be able to participate in the SREC II program under certain conditions. /continue reading
On April 11, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 75 of the Acts of 2016, “An Act Relative to Solar Energy,” legislation that raises the Massachusetts net metering program caps – but includes a number of changes to the net metering program aimed at reducing costs to ratepayers.
The Act provides for an increase in the cap on “private net metering facilities” and “public net metering facilities” in the territory of each Massachusetts distribution company. The private facility cap rises from 4% to 7% of the utility’s historic peak load; the public facility cap rises from 5% to 8%. While largely good news for solar stakeholders in Massachusetts, the existing waiting list for private net metering facilities in National Grid’s service territory (current cap status available here) is expected to absorb nearly all of the approximately 153 MW AC private facility cap increase in that territory. As a result, the Act is expected to facilitate the construction of private net metering facilities on the National Grid waiting list but will likely not allow for resumption of early stage development of larger solar projects in National Grid territory (comprising 175 Massachusetts cities and towns). /continue reading